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Wedding Week: Front and Centerpieces

I didn't love my centerpieces, but they were cheap and easy. Plus, it seems no one remembers the centerpieces so don't go overboard.
I didn't love my centerpieces, but they were cheap and easy. Plus, it seems no one remembers the centerpieces so don't go overboard.

I didn’t really LOVE the centerpieces at my own wedding. I just couldn’t find one that I liked. We looked at all kinds of options: some involved fresh flowers, some involved candles, some involved mirrors on the table. In the end, we found something that worked and went with it.

Ultimately, we purchased 24 giant wine-glass type vases. We filled them with a bag of purple sand, plopped a candle in that, wrapped some fake flowery thing around the bottom and bazinga–centerpiece.

With so many to make, we decided to make it easier on the hall, which would be assembling them prior to the wedding. So, we filled each vase with a Ziplock freezer bag containing the bag of purple sand, one flower, a disposable camera and some scavenger hunt card that went on each table. Then we packed them in boxes so it was just a matter of pulling one vase out, opening the bag of sand, lighting the candle and throwing the other two things on the table.

We thought it was pretty easy. There wasn’t a wedding the evening before ours so we actually got to see the hall all decked out early. It was beautiful.

I love decorating when someone else puts it together. I’m not stylish or trendy so I feel like I would be terrible at picking out the centerpieces for someone, but I don’t mind setting them up with a picture or two as a guide. When my friend, who was married recently, asked me if I would set up her centerpieces, I whole-heartidly said yes. It was her big day and I was happy to put my crafty skills to use. Plus, she had already picked them out, I just had to set them up.

Early in the morning the day of the wedding, I picked up her order of blue orchids from a local flower shop. They were beautiful. I wasn’t sure how much time it would take to set up, but I figured it wouldn’t be more than an hour or so. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

After picking up the flowers, dropping my kids off with my mom and heading out to the hall armed with the supplies, I had no idea that I would be there for three hours. I should have organized better in advance. I had all the stuff the week before, I should have looked through it in an attempt to speed up the process.

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Blue orchid centerpieces right after I set them up. They were lots of work, but beautiful.

Each centerpiece consisted of three cylinder vases: one nine-inch, one eight-inch and one six-inch. They were each filled with a mixture of blue and clear marbles, several short stems from the orchids, filled with water and topped with a white floating candle. Seems easy, right?

It started out quick;y. I placed the vases and filled them all with marbles. I had no idea how many orchids I needed so I started out sparingly cutting them and placing them in the vases. Once they were full, I needed to add the water. I asked the lovely ladies at the hall if they had a cart that I could use to take the vases to a faucet, or pitcher I could fill up and wheel around the room.

They handed me one pitcher and told me the faucet was in the far corner of the room, past all of the tables, over the dance floor and behind the bar. Each vase took roughly one pitcher of water. Three vases per table, 14 tables. Yeah, that’s a lot of trips back and forth. As I was putting the water in, I added a few stems of the orchids to each vase to try and use up as many as possible. That part probably took the longest. The filling, the walking back and forth, the cutting of the orchids…it all took so much time.

Once they were all filled, I went back around the room and added the floating candles, making sure none of the vases were so full that they would dump or spill if someone bumped the table.

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They looked pretty good with the lights on, but they looked GORGEOUS when we came back later in the evening for the reception.

Apparently the blue orchid is a very popular flower right now. In fact, the hall next door had the same flowers and almost the same centerpieces, except they used LED lights under the vases to light them. Despite the fact that I had to walk back and forth a gillionty times to the faucet, I liked my friend’s floating candles much better.

In case you were wondering, they used some of the left-over orchids on the cake and I brought the rest home, where they prettied up my kitchen table for a week.

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My friend's blue orchid centerpieces during the reception. Beautiful!

She did a great job picking out centerpieces and I felt honored to make her dream ambiance come to life. The color really popped against the white table clothes and echoed the colors of her place cards. Her bridesmaids dresses were nearly the same bright blue color, as were the groomsmen’s ties. It all came together nicely.

Next time I’m asked to set up the centerpieces, I’ll make sure that I leave more time. After three hours of cutting, walking and critiquing myself–I was ready for a nap.

I don’t generally remember centerpieces at weddings, which is why I was okay with not being in love with my own. I mean, even at my brother’s wedding I think they had short and tall ones on alternating tables, but I can’t be for sure. I definitely can’t remember the centerpieces at the two weddings before that.

So what do you think? How much work, time and money should go into the centerpieces for a wedding? What one do you remember the most?


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